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[H.A.S.C. No. 10718]
ASSESSING THE SUPPORT OF MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES FRIENDLY TO THE UNITED STATES
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MAY 23, 2002
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SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JIM TURNER, Texas
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
Mark Esper, Professional Staff Member
Alexis Lasselle, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, May 23, 2002, Assessing the Support of Middle Eastern Countries Friendly to the United States
Thursday, May 23, 2002
THURSDAY, MAY 23, 2002
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCASSESSING THE SUPPORT OF MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES FRIENDLY TO THE UNITED STATES
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Turner, Hon. Jim, a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Gaffney, Frank J., Jr., President and CEO, Center for Security Policy
Murphy, Ambassador Richard W., Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Pletka, Danielle, Vice President for Foreign Policy and Defense Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Gaffney, Frank J., Jr.
Murphy, Ambassador Richard W.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSaxton, Hon. Jim
Turner, Hon. Jim
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Langevin, Hon. Jim
ASSESSING THE SUPPORT OF MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES FRIENDLY TO THE UNITED STATES
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism,
Washington, DC, Thursday, May 23, 2002
The panel met, pursuant to call, at 9:15 a.m. In room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton [chairman of the panel] presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. SAXTON. Good morning. The Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism convenes for a public hearing on the support that Middle East countries are or are not providing the United States in its global war against terrorism.
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The witnesses in today's hearing are Mr. Frank Gaffney, President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy; Ambassador Richard Murphy, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York; and Ms. Danielle Pletka, Vice President of Foreign Defense Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.
Thank you all for agreeing to appear before the panel this morning. We look forward to your testimony.
Last week the panel received a classified briefing from the State Department on the seven countries the United States considers ''state sponsors of terrorism'' and the manner in which each of these countries harbors, assists, funds, supplies, and otherwise supports terrorist groups and terrorist activities.
Today, we hope to hear how and to what degree the so-called moderate countries in the Middle East are supporting or not supporting, failing to support, our efforts to fight terrorism.
While it is certainly true that terrorism is not a phenomenon found solely in the Middle East, it is equally true that some of the most active, prolific, and dangerous groups are located in and receive support from this region. As such, winning the war against terrorism will be extremely difficult without the support of friendly Arab governments and their assistance in ''draining the swamp,'' as the saying goes, that allows terrorists and their activities to live and thrive.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Providing overflight rights, forward basing, and logistical support for coalition forces to attack targets in Afghanistan in this conflict is necessary, but it has not been sufficient. Rather, victory will only be ensured when the Arab governments in the Middle East take positive steps to quell religious extremism, provide economic opportunity for their people, move toward more open and Democratic societies, and dispel the notion that Islam is under siege from the United States and the West.
This morning, I hope that our witnesses will speak directly to the issues and to the steps the United States can and should take to move the ball forward in these matters.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Before turning to our panel, let me ask my friend, our great ranking member Jim Turner, for any comments he may have at this time.
STATEMENT OF HON. JIM TURNER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to join in welcoming our witnesses today.
I think we all understand that the war on terrorism is a difficult and will be a protracted battle requiring the assistance of our allies around the globe and in the Middle East in particular. We have already witnessed the importance of allied assistance in the initial stages of our struggle as landing rights and overhead rights and both diplomatic and military assistance has been provided by many of the nations neighboring Afghanistan. Extending the fight against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups worldwide will require even greater cooperation.
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I am pleased to have the opportunity to hear from our distinguished witnesses, and I hope that as a whole, our panel will provide us with greater insights on the difficulties we face in the Middle Eastern region. The complexity of that region is often forgotten, often little understood, and I think too often we minimize the differences in our respective cultures and fail to appreciate the domestic politics of many Arab regimes. Such failures too often lead us to misunderstandings.
That said, it is important, I think, to seek the full support of these regimes and request that they appreciate the position of our country in this time of conflict, respect our interests and respect our goals, and to provide us with as much assistance as may be necessary to facilitate peace and continued prosperity for all of us. I hope that today's testimony can shed light on the problems that we must address and help us to better understand the situation in which we find ourselves.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Turner can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. I would like to welcome our panel of witnesses this morning, each expert in your own specific ways on issues that have to do with this very important subject. Let me ask you or suggest that your statements will certainly appear in full in the record. If you would try to summarize them in 5 minutes or so, we would appreciate it very much, so we can move on to questions and other parts of the hearings.
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So, Ms. Pletka, if you would like to begin, we welcome you and we are ready to hear your testimony.
STATEMENT OF DANIELLA PLETKA, VICE PRESIDENT, FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICY, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
Ms. PLETKA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you having me here today.
The leadership of the Arab world is not doing enough to help the United States on the war in terrorism. Most Arab governments are not allies in this fight. They are reluctant and occasional partners, if and when the United States chooses to use significant political muscle to force the issue. Some are better than others, but few are really good. And some are adequate in some areas but deficient in others.
The fundamental problem is simple: Most Arab leaders do not agree with us as to what constitutes terrorism; arguably, some have a vested interest in allowing it to continue, and they know that 99 percent of the time they will not be called to account by the United States Government.
The question before us at this hearingare our Arab allies doing enough to assist the United States in the war on terrorismraises two more questions:
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One, who are our Arab allies? We can reel off a list of countries that come to mind: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, plus or minus a few, depending on the state of the world on any particular day. But what really makes them allies? Military bases? Intelligence and law enforcement cooperation? A willingness to accept U.S. Assistance? Shared values and systems of government?
On the question of values and government, the answer is clearly no. None of these nations share basic American values, nor does any one of them share our democratic system of government. Several of the states I mentioned host our troops, but not necessarily for the same reason we choose to deploy those troops to the region. In no instance does the hosting of U.S. Troops appear to reflect much more than a keen understanding of realpolitik in the Gulf. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the stated reason is the continued duties associated with the Gulf War. But the Saudi government imposes limitations on our ability to carry out those duties, and other military operations launched from Saudi territory have posed even more significant problems. We are fortunate that states such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain have been more forward leaning toward our military.
Nor do aid programs buy allegiance. If that were the case, Jordan, now one of our better friends in the Middle East, would not have sided with Iraq during the Gulf War, and President Mubarak of Egypt would not have undercut us at Camp David two years ago. We cannot expect any of one of these countries to instinctively want to cooperate with us and support us like the British, the Germans, or even the Turks. In most respects, ours is a relationship of convenience.
The second question is what is the war on terrorism? If it is a war on al Qaeda, or more broadly on Afghanistan and al Qaeda, then its scope is very narrow indeed. Under that definition, the war on terrorism could end at any moment with some good intelligence, a few lucky shots, and some modest engagement in stabilizing Afghanistan.
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If the war on terrorism is something much broader, as President Bush has said on more than one occasion, and if it encompasses all those who use the tools of terror to attain political aims, then the war on terrorism is something more akin to the Cold War than anything else. It is a clash of ideologies and ways of life.
The clash of ideology is key. Up until now, we focused on narrow questions: Have you frozen bank accounts? A few. Have you arrested people and provided intelligence? A bit. Are you assisting us with our military requirements? Egypt, Bahrain and Qatar are; Saudi Arabia is a bit; others really aren't that much. But too much of this assistance is temporary, based on the aftermath of September 11 and eked out by an insistent U.S. Diplomacy.
These are only battles in the larger war, and when it comes to many of our Arab partners, we are never certain they are going to be with us when the time comes to fight the next battle. They are not allies on the war on terrorism because they will never embrace the principles that winning the war requires.
The United States has managed to persuade some Arab governments to institute financial controls on certain people and certain charities. But enforcement of those controls will be situational. And even if the legal infrastructure is in place in those countries, the issue of enforcement will remain.
Take two different examples, and I will go through them quickly, to see why the question of whose side you are on is so vital. One is our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Last year, 14 people were indicted in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel. Eleven of those suspects are in Saudi Arabia and will not be handed over to the United States. If the Khobar investigation was an early stage on the war on terrorism, Saudi Arabia can only be judged as evasive, unhelpful, and ultimately uninterested in justice.
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Two, the government of Lebanon, home to most of the world's terror groups. Lebanon has frozen the assets of some groups associated with al Qaeda, and its laws are good enough to do that. But when it comes to other groups such as Hezbollah or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the laws are selectively applied.
If we can't agree on the basics, how can we move forward together on a comprehensive campaign to defeat terrorism? The answer is, of course, we can't. For as long as nothing is done to address the underlying problem in the Arab world the ever-growing gap between the governing and the governed, and the anger and the hostility that results in the Arab world, there will be an incentive for Arab leaders to redirect the hostility of their people onto the West, and particularly the United States and its allies. That is why the Arab media is so unrelentingly antiAmerican, why education systems throughout the Arab world teach hatred, and why many Arab states continue to support terrorism in at least some of its forms.
Until there is significant reform in the Arab world, Mr. Chairman, and until it no longer serves the interests of many Arab regimes to deflect popular anger onto the United States, we will for the most part be alone in the war on terrorism. We can expect help in a battle here and there, but we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing we are fighting the war together. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much Ms. Pletka.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Pletka can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SAXTON. Ambassador Murphy, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR RICHARD W. MURPHY, HASIB J. SABBAGH SENIOR FELLOW FOR THE MIDDLE EAST, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
Ambassador MURPHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your invitation to appear today on the question of support that U.S. Middle East friends are providing in the war on global terrorism; specifically, how moderate countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt assist the American effort to stop terrorist financing, promote more balanced public discourse, news reporting, and support our military operations in Enduring Freedom.
I would like to explain, Mr. Chairman, that your invitation reached me late last week when I was traveling, and I didn't have a chance to prepare written testimony specifically for this hearing but have submitted testimony concerning Saudi Arabia, which I think covers many of these concerns, and I had prepared it for the International Relations Committee yesterday. So that is part of the record. And it is not only, I think, applicable in many of its comments to our relationship with Saudi Arabia but to the other moderate Arab countries, because there are some basic concerns in all of those countries about the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the efforts that the United States is ready to put into the Arab-Israeli peace process that is coloring the overall issue of their support, both in our military operations and intelligence cooperation.
Personally, I don't find it as useful to talk about who is a friend, who is not a friend, as to focus on what are our interests, what are our strategic interests in that part of the world. It has been a great topic in the media, trying to evaluate friendship and hostility, but to us remind that our long-term vital national interests have been defined for years as the security of Israel, which has to be achieved through peaceful relations with the Arab world and access to the energy resources of the Gulf.
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Now, we fulfilled our responsibility, and continue to do so, to the security of Israel. It is secure as a State, and in fact it is the regional Superpower. The vulnerability of its citizens to individual acts of terrorism is what is agonizing Israelis today, and that is going to be solved, in my opinion, only by a return to the negotiations between the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the others in the region.
On the second, for 30 years, we have protected the global interests, global economy, as we played the role of principal external protector of Gulf stability. That role is still needed and that role is still being performed. That is the reason we keep those few thousand U.S. Military personnel in the Arabian Peninsula countries and the float in the Gulf, and their presence has been valued.
On Saudi Arabia, there have been three common charges, that I spell out in more detail in my written testimony, that, first, it is no longer prepared to cooperate with the U.S. Militarily. In any case if we are really thinking ahead to the campaign on Iraq, that support is unnecessary. Second, that the Saudi Arabian leadership, or at least rich Saudi citizens and perhaps even members of the Royal Family, have been funding al Qaeda, Palestinian radical movements, and suicide bombings of Israelis, and the government is doing nothing to stop that funding. Third, that the Saudi press contains increasingly antiAmerican commentaries as well as antiSemitic.
Well, there is some truth in each of those charges. But if you take them at face value at first hearing, I think any rational person may think there is no longer a basis for continuing what has been our long-term strategic partnership with Riyadh. Over the decades we supported Saudi Arabia against external aggression. The Kingdom's leadership knows it has to handle the issue of internal loyalty of its subjects. If it loses that, there is no outsider who can play a role in promoting or protecting that leadership, and it has never asked us to do so. But against Iran in the eighties, Iraq in 1991, and the continued Operation Southern Watch, we have had Saudi cooperation to this day. It has not permitted bombing against Iraq from Saudi bases, as it did not permit bombing of Afghanistan from Saudi bases. But it quickly gave access to our military, to the command and control center at the Prince Sultan Air Base which was deemed invaluable by the Pentagon to its air campaign, along with the thousands of overflight clearances provided by the Kingdom.
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Now, that fact never got corrected in our media. There was quite a nasty buzz for about 2 weeks in the media last September about denial of that particular facility to U.S. Use. It was arranged within that 2-week period.
I would be wary of those who suggest that Saudi support would be unnecessary if and when the decision is made to attack Iraq. Of course, it will dependthe need for that support depends on our National Command Authority, but at a minimum, Saudi tacit support will be very important. It can ease or it can hinder U.S. Operations. It can give or deny those flight clearances and logistical support.
And I would caution this committee not to count on the cooperation of other Peninsula states in the event Saudi-American relations deteriorate to the point that we are asked to get out. I think it is a relationship that we have to be constantly working on from both sides.
And I think we also must recognize that throughout the Arab world, we have to pay equal attention to the Arab-Israeli issues, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli situation. This, as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia made clear to President Bush in his visit to Crawford, is the major current priority in his country and also throughout much of the Middle East.
And I think, again, to comment on Iraq, that we have to realize we have not appeared serious about Iraq for the past 11 years in Arab eyes, and it is fair enough for Saudis and others to ask if we are today serious and are going to be serious.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On funding, the Saudis did keep relations with the Taliban government after we had pulled out of Afghanistan, and may well have been rich individual Saudis and Royal Families who have contributed to al Qaeda, either wittingly or unwittingly, through charitable foundations. But I recall the Saudi Prime Minister coming to Washington 2 weeks after September 11 to discuss our relationship and how Saudi Arabia could cooperate on the issue of terrorism, and that was followed immediately by the dispatch of a delegation to the U.S. Treasury, which subsequently made four trips to Saudi Arabia to help devise a mechanism to monitor and track money flows through foundations.
Now, my understanding is the Administration is pleased with the increased cooperation, but that is something you would pursue in detail with the Administration. I do know we jointly closed down two offices of a Saudi foundation which had branches operating in Bosnia and Somalia, financing terrorist operations. Saudi Arabia does make no distinction between the help it gives to the victims of suicideto the families' victimssorryto families whose sons and daughters became suicide bombers and other families who have lost relatives since the beginning of the Intifada. It does make the point that those families were ignorant of the intentions of the family member who became a suicide bomber. And elsewhere, but not in Saudi Arabia, these bombers have been glorified in the media. They have been condemned in Saudi Arabia as taking actions against Koranic injunctions.
On the media in every Arab country during recent months, I have tracked an increase in comments critical of American policy towards the Arab-Israeli peace process, that we must do more. There was a surge after the confrontation in the Jenin refugee camps, which was accompanied by antiSemitic commentaries throughout the Arab world.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As far as Egypt goes, President Mubarak was the first Chief of State to publicly support the strikes in Afghanistan on October 9. He was not asked to send troops to Afghanistan. He has given everything we have asked for, in addition to the landing and overflight clearances and the transit for the U.S. Navy over the canal. Egypt has also furnished prepositioning facilities. Egypt has shared its intelligence with the United States. It does see a common enemy, particularly in the religious-based terrorism which it has suffered from extensively itself.
Mr. SAXTON. If you could summarize here in the next minute or so.
Ambassador MURPHY. Just a word on Jordan, that it of course did send a military field hospital, mine clearing Army engineering detachments to Afghanistan. King Abdullah has warned against attacking Iraq at a time when emotions are aroused over recent Arab-Israeli tensions, and I would recall the considerable skill of Jordanian intelligence in uncovering the planned Millennium bombings in Jordan in December of 1999.
Mr. SAXTON. Ambassador, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Murphy can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. We move now to Mr. Frank Gaffney.
STATEMENT OF FRANK GAFFNEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY
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Mr. GAFFNEY. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. I am delighted to be here, and in the company of my colleagues and so many of yours.
As you have indicated, I would like to have my full statement in the record and I will summarize parts of it, noting only that I tried in the prepared testimony to provide some context for the present discussion of specifically Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan.
I am reminded, as I am sure we all are, of President Bush's injunction at the very beginning of the present war. The nations are either with us or against us. You will either be helping us in ridding the world of terrorism or you are part of the problem.
Frankly, it has been relatively easy to figure out who is against us in this war. It is more trickyand I commend you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing to focus in part on who exactly is with us. Clearly, of the three countries that you have asked us to focus on, Jordan seems to me to be making the most concerted effort to align itself with the United States.
Like Pakistan, the Hashemite kingdom is evidently determined to collaborate with us, even if it can't acknowledge the willingness and the extent to which it is doing so. Like his predecessor, his father, King Abdullah is I think showing himself capable of suppressing terrorism at home and working, albeit quietly, with the Israelis to mitigate threats emanating from Palestinian communities inside both countries. He is unlikely to ride this tiger indefinitely, however. And I think that is particularly true if the Bush Administration succeeds in its stated goal of creating a Palestinian State on the West Bank of the Jordan River, especially if, as seems absolutely predictable under present circumstances and frankly foreseeable, once that state turns out to be yet another radical, Islamist, irradentist Arab state, one willing and able to aid and abet terrorist operations from its soil. Such a state would, I believe, inevitably appeal to Jordan's Palestinian population to reunite under a single flag, government and armyturning over to very dangerous elements the small but well-equipped and modern Jordanian military. For this reason, among many others, I believe President Bush should be encouraged to reconsider his support of the creation of a Palestinian State under present and foreseeable circumstances.
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Regrettably, the Jordanian government's behavior contrasts favorably with that of its counterparts in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I would argue that the Saudi regime under Crown Prince Abdullah, and Egypt's under President Hosni Mubarak, fit more closely into the category of countries with long pedigrees of support for international terrorismnotably Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Yemenwho have to varying degrees attempted to take advantage of sort of a Bush amnesty program to distance themselves from their erstwhile terrorist friends by cooperating with us in some fashion.
Unfortunately, there is considerable evidence that these countries are actually playing what you might call a ''double game.'' and I think that is especially true of both Saudi Arabia and Egypt. To be sure, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt are providing some support as Ambassadorthe Ambassador has indicated; in particular, support to U.S. Military operations in Afghanistan. Each is indeed allowing overflight rights of considerable value to the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in central Asia. American warships are being permitted by the Egyptians to pass unhindered through the Suez Canal. And at least some air operations appear to be supported by the combined air operation center at the Prince Sultan Air Base.
While these are notable and to varying degrees valuable contributions, they are, frankly, about the least the Saudi and Egyptian regimes could do. I think it is important to say they are not volunteering to do more, and our government appears to be reluctant to ask them to do more for fear that they will say no, at which point it will no longer be possible to say they are doing everything we ask them to do.
Unfortunately, matters are made considerably worse by Saudi and Egyptian behavior on other fronts. Before September 11, both governments have for years fomented Islamist and/or panArab sentiment against Israel and the United States. Generally it was believed they did so in the interest of deflecting well-deserved popular resentment away from their respective regimes.
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In the past, we have turned a blind eye towards such official subversion of our common interests. We can no longer do so now, especially in the aftermath of 19 Saudi and Egyptian nationals killing thousands of Americans and others who remain engagedand supporting others who remain engaged in trying to do so.
This is the key point, Mr. Chairman. Even after September 11, much of this behavior continues apace. In my testimony, I have enumerated just a sample of actions that I think are deeply troubling, as they are indicative of, at the very best, bad faith on the part of both the Saudi and Egyptian governments and, at worst, a commitment that is clearly not with us.
I will just touch on these very quickly. As I mentioned, the hijackers on September 11 were products of Wahhabists and other Islamist indoctrination. That is a pedagogy that is not confined to just Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It is being promoted by madrassas bankrolled by the Saudis in places like Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia and, yes, the United States of America where, according to some estimates, mortgages for as many as 80 percent of mosques in this country are held by Saudi financial institutions, Royal Family members and the like.
Second, state-controlled media, I emphasize state-controlled media, in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt persist in broadcasting vitriolic antiAmerican, anti-Israel and/or antiWestern diatribes with themes that are virtually indistinguishable from bin Laden's. One that was particularly outrageous recently ran in a two-part news item in a Saudi government-controlled paper on the 22nd of March, which described, as the Washington Times reported, quote: Jewish rabbis extract the blood of Christians and Muslims for use in Purim holiday pastries.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Third, the Saudi Embassy's Web site proudly declares that $33 million has been allocated by the Saudi Arabian government to families of Palestinians killed or injured in the Intifada. And further, 50 million has been set aside for this purpose as of December 2001.
Millions more were raised in what has been called a Saudi ''martyrthon,'' a televised spectacle featuring members of the Royal Family appealing for contributions that would in effect reward those whose children or other relatives acted as martyrs in the Intifada.
The Saudi Ambassador to Great Britain, who served in that post for a decade, published in a pan-Arab daily recently a poem extolling the legitimacy of suicide bombers' attacks, saying they died to honor God's word.
The Saudi government, or at least the Saudi Royal Family is apparently supporting a national boycott of U.S. Products. By some estimates, 30 percent of U.S. Imports to Saudi Arabia have, as a result, been decreased, and restaurant chains with ties to the United States are similarly being affected.
Egypt recently purchased 24 No Dong medium-range missiles, the only purpose for which I frankly can conceive is a threat to Israel. They could, after all, be used to deliver chemical, biological, or perhaps even small atomic or nuclear weapons to Israel.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Gaffney, if you could summarize.
Mr. GAFFNEY. The Egyptian Prime Minister, Atef Ebeid, was quoted by Agence France Press last month as saying that his countrythis is according to the Agence France press reportquote, ''His country would go to war with Israel if Arab countries stumped up $100 billion to pay for the confrontation.'' .
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Egypt is allowing Palestinians terrorists and their sympathizers to tunnel from the Sinai into the Gaza Strip for the purpose of conveying arms to be used in terrorist activities.
And, Mr. Chairman, I must tell you, I have been absolutely appalled by the study of a report submitted to you all by the State Department that fails to take adequate note of many of these activities.
I see Mr. Hunter is here. I would suggest that not since the 1995 national intelligence estimate on missile threats to the United States, a blatantly politicized document, has the Congress been served such a distorted and, frankly, fraudulent document as the State Department just rendered describing Palestinian compliance with its obligations and other terrorist threats.
Mr. Chairman, to conclude, these examples are meant only to suggest a pattern of bad faith and double-dealing on the part of the Saudi and Egyptian governments. That argues, at a minimum, for a far more rigorous insistence on the part of the U.S. Government that such friends, both of whom enjoy our protection and considerable financial assistance, desist from such behavior.
I commend you, Mr. Chairman, in particular for your longstanding efforts, of which this hearing is but a part, to end our national practice of what the psychologists call ''cognitive dissidence'' with respect to conduct that should properly cause nations, even friendly ones, to be seen as against us.
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Thank you, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Gaffney, thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gaffney can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just begin with a question for each of the panelists. Ms. Pletka and Ambassador Murphy both mentioned the relationship between various peoples in the Middle East and their government, and I think this is a very important point. As a matter of fact, I believe President Bush thinks it is a very important point as well, as he called for reform of the Palestinian Authority just a week or so ago.
I am reminded of a report I read some time ago in the New York Times, detailing the results of a survey that was done by the Saudi government of males between the ages ofI think it was 25 and 45 or thereabouts, which indicatedthe result indicated that something like 95 percent of that age group of males supported Osama bin Laden and his policies.
At the same time, in the West Bank, the Palestinian people and the aid that we are going to apparently vote to send them again today or tomorrow is intended to help the people, but the notion that it will get to the people is at least questionable.
And so my question is, talk a little bit, if you will, about the relationship or lack thereof between various leaders of countries or groups in the Middle East and the people who are having such a tough time.
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Ms. PLETKA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, one of the things that is fascinating about many of the countries that you are talking about is the obsession that people in these countries seem to have with the Arab-Israeli conflict and with the plight of the Palestinians, which is obviously something of concern. But you note that in those countries, like the United States, even six or seven months after September 11, people turned to domestic affairs. People in recent polls actually put national security matters not as number one any longer, but had moved it down on their list and were interested in health care issues and issues of governance. And yet among the Palestinians and the Saudis who you mentioned, all you hear are these external concerns, these concerns about what is going on, what is the United States doing, what is Israel doing?
Well, there is a reason for that. The reason for that is they cannot express the concerns they might have about domestic issues. There is no venue for expression of political concern at home. There are no domestic constituencies. There are no ways to express your concern with the policies of your government. That isit is wrong. It is a source of frustration. It is a source of anger.
I think another thing that is important to remember is that the origins of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were not originally about taking out the United States and everything that had to do with us. They were hostilities to the Saudi Royal Family. And that is why we have such a confluence of interest, of course, in this current war against Osama bin Laden, but it does also mean that there is a significant source of dissatisfaction in this country that isn't being dealt with. The same is true with the Palestinians. They live in a dictatorship. Can't express themselves. Can't change their government. That is a serious problem. Until we deal with that problem, you are not really going to deal with the fundamental sources of instability in the Middle East.
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Mr. SAXTON. If I may interrupt for just one moment, focus for just a moment, if you will, on the fact that something like 20 Palestinian ministers have recently resigned. Is that meaningful in terms ofare they beginning to see that the people have needs that are not being met?
Ms. PLETKA. I think there are serious problems within the Palestinian Authority as a government. If the Palestinian Authority at large is not a democracy and the people cannot speak to their leadership, the same is true internally to the Palestinian government. In other words, ministers and the Palestinian Legislative Council that was constituted, loath these many years ago, and has not been reelected since, is actually incapable of speaking to its leadership. In fact, the area is run by one man, and one man is making all the decisions. Not only are the people disenfranchised, but the people who he is bringing in to advise him on matters outside the realm of terrorism are in fact also disenfranchised. How can they have any reform?
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Ambassador Murphy.
Ambassador MURPHY. On the point that Ms. Pletka mentions about who was the target on September 11, it clearly was the Saudi Royal Family as well as the United States. And the Royal Family was a target ever since 1990, when they rejectedor one of the senior ministers rejected Osama's offer ofI think it was 5- or 10,000 devoted mujahedeen from Afghanistan to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, no other help would be needed. They came under attack for being corrupt and impious for one single charge, admitting inviting the Americans and other foreigners, nonMuslim forces, into Saudi Arabia and into the Peninsula to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. So I think personally they were the main target because they assumed in this very aberrant, distorted interpretation of Islam that they are pushing, they assumed that that leadership would collapse overnight if American support and particularly American military forces were withdrawn from the country and from the Peninsula.
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I don't agree. I think the regime has albeit traditional means of staying in touch with its people, and though those don't solve the process of a Parliament that has a daily discourse or exchange with leadership, it does maintain, has maintained to this day, and is very conscious of the need to maintain the loyalty of its people.
On reform, the resignation of those ministers, I honestly haven't heard that that many had resigned, but the frustration of those ministers, the frustration of the Legislative Council which was elected 6 years ago, as long ago as some of our Senate perhapswasn't that longbut their frustration was, almost from day one, that they were not listened to by Chairman Arafat; and yet they closed ranks when he came under pressure, when he was in detention in Ramallah these last months and you didn't hear the criticisms. But up until then, the criticisms were clear and growing.
And, interestingly, when the Saudis and Egyptians and the Syrian President got together in Sharm al-Sheikh last week, one of the points was to call for an end to violence from the Palestinian side and to get the message to the Palestinian leadership to pay attention to reforms. So I think the area is aware of the problems of Arafat's leadership.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. Mr. Gaffney.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Briefly, Mr. Chairman, I agree with Ms. Pletka. I think, as I tried to indicate in my remarks, both Egypt and Saudi Arabia have for years tried to channel the frustration of their people towards external sources. They used the Arab-Israeli conflict in various forms, sometimes actually engaging in violence, but oftentimes, particularly since 1973, simply using it as a means of whipping up fervor and externally orienting it.
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I think these regimes are terrified of their own people. They use ruthless means to suppress them. The Ambassador refers to the loyalty of their people. I find that unlikely, to be charitable. I think the people have no choice but to hew to the party line. There is restiveness in both of these countries. Some of that has expressed itself in Islamist fervor in Egypt. In Saudi Arabia, the government cut a Faustian deal with the Wahhabists to turn over the pedagogy for the country to them. So the Islamist is actually the state religion, if you will.
So these are problems that I think are compounded by the corruption that is evident in most of these governments. And just specifically on your question, I think in terms of the actual concern about the well-being of their people, neither the Saudi government nor the Egyptian government or most of the governments in the Arab world are the least bit concerned about their lot in life. They want to keep them down. They want to keep them under control, and they will manipulate them as best they can to try to assure that that remains the case.
Mr. SAXTON. Remark, if you will, about the survey that I mentioned in my question, where 95 percent or thereabouts of the relatively young males in Saudi Arabia would rather supportperhaps I am saying this wrongwould support Osama bin Laden rather than their own government.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Well, it should hardly come as a surprise. As I say, what they have been taught in the Saudi school system is the Islamist's theology that Osama bin Laden is tapping into and trying to exploit. The government is trying, as I said earlier about the King of Jordan, trying to ride this tiger by maintaining control over it; but, in fact, I think it is a very perishable commodity. I don't feel the same confidence as the Ambassador, who has considerable expertise in the country, has in the police-state techniques that I think ultimately is what the Saudi regime is relying upon. But if they are unable any longer to channel this rage externally, I think it will be directed towards the regime and create a difficult future for the Royal Family.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. We are going to turn now to the ranking member, Mr. Turner.
Mr. TURNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Obviously, each of you share widely divergent views, and it seems to me that much of the current debate, and even the nature of our hearing, seems to center around the words that resonate with all of us that the President delivered to the Congress when he asked that question: Are you with us or are you against us?
But it also seems clear, and I know Mr. Gaffney and several particulars were critical of the Bush Administration policies. But it does seem to me that that question, though it is good rhetorical presentation of an issue that is very important in terms of the events of September 11 and our ability to deal with it, that it does not in anyone's mind represent the articulation of foreign policy that will see us through the next century, because clearly we have some who are truly our friends and with us and we have some who will clearly be our enemies.
But there is a whole range in between, beginning with some of our closest European allies who, as we know, have not stood totally with regard to what they perceive to be a unilateral approach to the current circumstance.
So you know, as I listen to each of you, it is much like I think I heard Ambassador Murphy say after Ms. Pletka's remarks; there is a grain of truth in everything we are hearing here. And yet to articulate foreign policy, it seems to me, requires us to carefully analyze the national interests of those Middle Eastern countries and to formulate a thoughtful foreign policy that takes that into account, whether we agree with it or not.
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And I know when we talk about Saudi Arabia, clearly that is one of the most important countries that we must deal with. And the direction that Saudi Arabia goes obviously does influence the policies of many of the other Middle Eastern nations.
And I guess it would help a little bit, and I might start with you, Ambassador Murphy, to look a little bit at what our relationship with Saudi Arabia really is currently, and in particular we know that there have been reports that the Saudi government desires to reduce our presence, our military presence in their country. And yet I am not sure that we have confirmation of that by our State Department or by Saudi officials. And it would be helpful if you could share with us your knowledge about the origin of those reports and whether or not they are, in fact, valid.
Ambassador MURPHY. I think they are valid in part, Congressman. I think the fact that while the vast number or the vast percentage of our forces were very quickly withdrawn in 1991, we did, and we have maintained in the Peninsulawell, in the Peninsula and on ground, 5,000, 6,000 personnel. This was exploited by the critics, led by Osama bin Laden, as an example of defilinghe used all the heaviest of religious phrases to describe itdefiling the Holy Land. So it has been some embarrassment. The Saudis did arrest a handful of clerics back in 1991 and kept them in jail for a few years. I think they were released 5, 6 years later for refusing to stop the criticisms of the government for having welcomed and allowed the other foreigners in the country.
So when Osama bin Laden surfaced more and more striking criticisms of the leadership in Saudi Arabia and the United States, I don't think we should be surprised that they have taken that into account.
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And the questions they have about, as I said, our real intentions on Iraq, how can it have taken all this time, if we were serious, to get rid of the regime of Saddam Hussein? So I think it is not surprising the leadership might want toand I don't have any inside information on thismight want to reduce the presence.
Well, the presence is, in American terms, absolutely minimal today and virtually invisible. If you go to Riyadh, you are not going to see American uniforms. And it has been built up through these kinds of attacks on our presence by the fanatic elements. And it has been challengedyou know, after all the billions of dollars of purchases of arms by Saudi Arabia from the U.S., from Europe, other sources, why is it that we need foreigners to defend the country? So this complex of reasons I think is at play.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Mr. Turner, may I just address one point? I certainly didn't want to be sounding as though I underestimated the complexities of many of these calculations, and you are certainly right that there are countries that are going to be friendly to our requests for help and assistance, and in other areas are going to be uncooperative.
All I am really trying to suggest is I think it is dangerous potentially to construe countries that are behaving in that selective fashion as reliable friends, because it does connote, at a minimum, the idea that you are indifferent to the things that they are doing that are not helpful. And I think we have done that for a long time with respect to Egypt, which is, after all, receiving $2-plus billion a year from the United States Government, and Saudi Arabia which is receiving the sort of protection I am talking about.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC May I clarify one other thing, because you suggested that I am critical of the Bush Administration's policies. I think actually I am very supportive, by and large, of the Administration's policies. I was trying to call to your attention one specific problem that alarms me. And if I may just ask you to take a look at a map that the State Information Service of Egypt produced that is displayed on the Palestinian Web site that suggests what is wrong with this picture, in a manner of speaking, as the President talks about creating a Palestinian State, this is the Palestinian State that the Palestinians have in mind. And I just think it is important for us to be clear that those who are promoting such a state in which, of course, you not only have the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, part of this state of Palestine, but all pre-1967 Israel is problematic, to say the least. And whether it is Egypt that is promoting that or Saudi Arabia or other Arab States
Mr. SAXTON. When you say pre-1967
Mr. GAFFNEY. There is no Israel, of course, on this map of the state of Palestine. And that is what being conveyed to the people of Palestine and other Arabs. Absence is still the end game, the desired ultimate objective.
So on that one point, I have some concerns about this issue we were talking about of overlooking some of the behavior that is unconstructive and calling countries friends. But this is really the main thing that I would just raise a red flag about in terms of the Administration's policies which I otherwise I think very generally strongly support.
Mr. SAXTON. We are going to have to go to vote. Let me ask, Mr. Turner, if I may, is this map a map that is adopted by the Palestinian Authority or is this a map which enjoys support from other so-called moderate Arab nations?
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Mr. GAFFNEY. I believe the seal that you see on the bottom of this map which says SISI can't see itbut if it does say that, that is from the Egyptian State Information Service. It is a map, as I said, that has appeared on the Palestinian official Web site, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Web site, but it also appears everywhere else. It is on the uniforms of the police, it is on the cultural and television programs that they sponsor. It is used broadly to convey, among other places in the textbooks used to teach the children what the objective is, the abiding objective of liberating all of the so-called occupied territories.
Mr. SAXTON. We have eight minutes left before we have to go vote and it takes six minutes to get there. We want you to get a crack at this.
Ambassador MURPHY. Just on that specific point, you have had since 1988 an explicit policy of the Palestinian leadership for a two-state solution, a division of the land, and roughly along the lines of 1967 pre-Six Day War. There are extremists on both sides, and this is obviously a product of the extremists on the Palestinian side, as there are for instance, in the Israeli Cabinet, the Minister saying, the only solution is to push every Arab, be he Israeli Arab or West Bank Arab, out of the country.
Mr. SAXTON. How do we accept the notion that there are extremists on both sides? However, I would also like to point our that I have seen this map behind Yasser Arafat when he is making his news conferences.
Ambassador MURPHY. It is in his office, on the wall.
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Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Turner suggests that we go ahead and vote and we will get back as soon as we can.
Mr. SAXTON. The committee will reconvene. And let me call on at this point Mr. Bartlett for whatever questions he may have and then we will follow with Mr. Hill.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I note that some of the Arab states that we are concerned with have significant amounts of oil and others do not. Since the United States uses 25 percent of all of the oil used in the world, and since we have only 2 percent of the known reserves of oil in the world and since we import about 56, 57 percent of the oil we use as compared to 34 percent at the time of the Arab oil embargo, how big an element is oil in our consideration of how we relate to these Arab states relative to terrorism?
Ms. PLETKA. Maybe I could respond, sir. I think the biggest question here is how big an element should it be and how big an element is it. And I will answer the easier one. How big an element should it be. We are in a mutual economic relationship with these countries. They sell oil for a reason and it is not charity. They sell oil to make money, and in the case of Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf states, most of their foreign exchange earnings come from the sale of oil. Not even anything more sophisticated such as gas stations or investments but the straight sale of oil. So it is in their interest to see us continuing to purchase their oil. That would be the first element. But the second element
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARTLETT. But isn't it true that that was still a relevant observation in 73 when they did cut off the supply of oil to us. Aren't there circumstances under which they would conclude there was a higher priority than getting our dollars for oil? They did it once.
Ms. PLETKA. I think that the fact that they did it once was a great lesson to them. And you will hear from the Saudi Royal Family that they are never going to engage in such an exercise again. In fact, when a hint was dropped to the New York Times several weeks ago in the run-up to the meeting between President Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah that they were considering some cessation of oil sales to the United States in response to the current crisis of the Middle East, the Royal Family was very quick to step out and explicitly refute that. They could not afford it.
Also since then we have significantly diversified. If they were to cut us off at this point, the people who would be really be hurting would be them, not us.
Ambassador MURPHY. If I could add, Congressman, I think we have to keep in mind our role in the Gulf, and particularly where these massive reserves are is as guardian protector, what you will, for the global economy, because ours is not the principal market. That oil is going to go increasingly to the east, to China, Japan, Korea in the years to come. But it is also the consensus, as I get it from oil experts, and they are about as divisive a group, next to Middle East experts, as you will find anywhere as to what they do or do not agree on, but there is a consensus that in the years ahead, they will give you 2015, 2020 as the horizon, the world is going to need the Arab oil, the Russian oil, the Central Asian oil.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is not a matter of substituting turning attention to one or the other. We will have to boost production, help boost it in central Asia and Russia and it is all going to be needed along with the Gulf oil of Iran, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula.
A direct answer to your question, are we pulling our punches on terrorism, I don't think so. Not from what I am hearing, just because somebody is a major oil producer. That is not my understanding.
Mr. GAFFNEY. I would respectfully disagree with that. I believe that we are, in fact, cutting the Saudis in particular, and to varying degrees, others in the Persian Gulf a lot of slack because we don't want to cause what the Star Wars folks call perturbations in the force, the oil markets being disrupted with all of the economic repercussions.
Mr. Bartlett, you have a lot more scientific background than I do, but I would commend to you I had a very interesting conversation with a colleague by the name of John McCormick this week, who is a specialist in energy matters, and also with Jim Woolsey. And they have some very interesting ideas about ways in which using techniques like controlled sales from the SPR, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to purchase future oil we could effect changes in the structure of our present oil purchases to diversify out of the Persian Gulf in the way that I think would have very valuable strategic as well as economic benefits for us, specifically, looking at the Caspian, looking at Mexico, Western Canada, perhaps post-Chavez Venezuela, Russia even, as alternative places that would diminish greatly our reliance upon increasingly unreliable sources of oil in that part of the world, that is, the Persian Gulf.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If we have another round we can perhaps come back to a further discussion of this. Thanks.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Hill is the next questioner, but before we go to Mr. Hill, I am going to ask Mr. Bartlett if he would be kind enough to take the chair for a little while; I have another committee meeting at the same time. I need to run there for a while.
Mr. HILL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for assembling this panel here today. This is obviously well-balanced and we are getting two sides to a story.
Mr. Gaffney, first I want to ask you a question. You say that Saudi Arabia and Egypt is playing a double game. Why are they doing this?
Mr. GAFFNEY. As we talked about both a bit in the opening remarks and then in response to Mr. Turner's question, Mr. Hill, I think the reason is in no small measure they have viewed the anti American strand of their policies as an important safety valve to relieve pressure within the internal dynamics of their societies. Since as Ms. Pletka said, they can't allow, they cannot tolerate any addressing of the frustrations of their people. I think mention was made by one of your colleagues earlier to the huge numbers of young people in these societies. Many of them are well educated, many of them have no job prospects, many of them have found appealing the Islamist teachings as a sort of justification for what is otherwise a pretty frustrating lot in life. I think it is a way of modulating that and channeling it elsewhere.
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Mr. HILL. You know, the President, after September the 11th, said that this was not a war against Islam, it was a war against terrorism. But you are painting a different picture here, aren't you?
Mr. GAFFNEY. I am suggesting I think, that we are at a war that Islamists have begun waging against us. Islamists, as you know, I am sure, are not necessarily people who are identical to, though in some areas they obviously share common beliefs and others we hope do not, with other adherents to the Muslim faith. Islamists are those who have adopted the teachings, we would argue have hijacked, the teachings of Mohammed for the purpose of waging jihad against infidels of whom we are the most prominent example and lucrative target. So I think to some extent, it's like family, you can't necessarily pick your enemies; some of them pick you. And in this case, the Islamists have clearly picked the United States.
Mr. HILL. Ambassador, you can address yourself to this as well, I mean you paint this vision of Arafat's vision of Palestine as an extremist point of view. The majority of the societies in the Arab world, are they extremist are or are they not? It is very hard for me to sit here and listen to this testimony and figure what is the truth here. Who is in control? What form of Islam is the majority point of view?
Ambassador MURPHY. Well, I think, Congressman, let me try this way of approaching it. We have got a pretty good relationship with the elites of the Arab world, the leaderships of the Arab world. They see it in our interest as we have seen it in ours to have areaswe have common interest.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is America resented by the people of the Arab world? My experience is we are very much admired in the Arab world, the countries I have served in and traveled in ever since government service. There is a great respect for American society and American life. They don't agree that every social practice we have should be accepted or in their cultures, in their society, but, you know, you go even to a country where I have not been allowed to; to Iran, where the governments have been most vociferously hostile, the people have been most remarkably open and friendly to people-to-people contact.
Our President's emphasis that this wasn't a war on Islam I think was very usefully directed to the propaganda coming out of the deviant voices such as Osama bin Laden's and, I think, the President's gestures, the going to the mosque in Washington, his general posture vis-a-vis of Islam has been very helpful and very much appreciated in the Arab world as I know it.
Ms. PLETKA. May I make a point about your question on whether these people are extremists, whether the people of the Arab world are extremists. People don't have foreign policy views in their natural state. There are inputs that they integrate and they use to educate themselves. When they exist in societies where from nursery school on up in textbooks and in newspapers, all they hear is not only anti-Semitism but anti Americanism and anti Westernism and sometimes anti Christian attitudes that is what is going to inform their views. It is not that enlightenment is coming from anywhere. It doesn't come from the heavens. That is one aspect.
I think a second important aspect is actually something Ambassador Murphy just referred to, and that is that in some of the countries that are most vociferously publically hostile to the United States like Iran, where we have a hostile relationship between the two governments, the United States is not perceived as propping up the bad guys. And that is another problem that we have. We are perceived as being part and parcel of regimes that are not well liked by their people in the Gulf and, to a certain extent, in Egypt as well. That is not the case in Iran. Nobody in Iran believes that the United States is propping up the Islamists who are running that country.
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Mr. GAFFNEY. But that has been a close-run thing because towards the end of the Clinton Administration there was a clear move in the direction that started with a willingness to import their caviar and other luxury items, but I think clearly had that trend persisted as opposed to the President saying Iran is part of the axis of evil, you would likely have started seeing some in Iran feeling betrayed, some who also would like to see a more genuinely modern pro-Western government come to the fore.
Could I justI didn't want the record to go unchallenged on the point that the Ambassador said about the Palestinians and extremism. This map, I believe, reflects the end game. What they adopted in 1974, not in 1988, as an article of the sort of Palestinian doctrine was what became known as the phased plan, which called for getting such territory as they could and using that territory in the second or third phase to liquidate Israel. This remains, I believe, the end game. I don't believe that Arafat, let alone Hamas or Islamic jihad or Hezbollah, have really embraced the idea of a permanent state of affairs in which there is an Israel and a state of Palestine living in peace indefinitely.
Mr. HILL. My time has run out, but, Ambassador, I would like for you to respond if you would.
Ambassador MURPHY. Specifically, if I could do quick ones on both, I do recommend the writing of Bernard Lewis, Congressman, on that book, very quick read, What Went Wrong, where he mentions the failure of Islam to keep up in developing in the modern period, the Islamic state, so many of which have fallen behind economically and social and political institutions. And that has bred some resentment at the popular level. We were so powerful, we were such leaders, what is going wrong? It is the problem with globalization and U.S. dominance, et cetera. That is at play here in the whole picture.
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On Frank's point, it may well be Arafat's secret vision of what he hopes for in the future. He is not going to get it much as Avigdor Lieberman in the cabinet of Israel today isn't going to get the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel out of the West Bank. I don't think that is out there. Each one has dreams and dreams that are not going to be politically realizable will be written about and will create distrust on the other side, but one day when and if this Palestinian state is created you are going to find the Hamas characters sitting in the opposition and saying our vision is this, which is all of Palestine should be ours. It is not going to be theirs.
Mr. HILL. Thank you.
Mr. BARTLETT [presiding]. Let me recognize Mr. Hunter.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Folks, we have to take the world as we find it and I think it is clear to us that leaders of nations don't do things that give them what they consider to be excessive political or physical exposure. And so, we have to take the Middle East as we find it and try to understand that it is very difficult to change nations and change cultures and do all the things that implicitly would have to be accomplished to dramatically change the situation that exists today.
So if you could each tell me what you think the one or two most important things that could and should be accomplished by our Arab allies in the Middle East, you think a reasonable request, requirements from the United States that are not a bridge too far for leaders who are as we have discussed to a large degree looking over their shoulder, what are two doable requirements?
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Mr. GAFFNEY. I would put at the top of my personal list cessation of the use of government controlled media as outlets for this vitriolic anti Americanism. That should simply be stopped. Of the Saudis in particular, I believe that we should be demanding a cessation of this pedagogy of hate in the form of Wahhabis Messianic evangelism, at the very least, in the United States itself.
Mr. HUNTER. Frank, I got your first point, but how do you accomplish the second?
Mr. GAFFNEY. Well, insofar as the government of Saudi Arabia is actively aiding and abetting, legitimating, promoting, putting resources behind the Wahhabis madrassas, and in fact, in their own educational system within Saudi Arabia turning it over to these Wahhabis, I think that is where you run into this enabling of so much of the Islamists impulse, both within the Persian Gulf itself and more generally.
You know, we have seen it so clearly in Pakistan where you have 1,000 plus of these madrassas cultivating the next generation of Osama bin Laden's militants. That shouldn't be done. I think our government, here is a place where I very strongly support what the Administration has been trying to do is encouraging Musharaff to take back the educational system of his country, to end those madrassas operations and replace them with our help with, you know, Internet learning capabilities and textbooks and other materials that we can provide that can help reverse this pattern that, I think, Ms. Pletka and I both addressed is really a corrosive influence within the billion-plus Muslim population.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador MURPHY. Congressman, you don't take the questionI wouldn't say take on the problem as head-on as Frank would. You don't tell the Wahhabi, the Saudi, stop being evangelistic. They believe they have the correct interpretation of the Koran and the teachings of the prophet. That gains us nothing but cordial dislike in general if we say your faith and your practice of your faith is wrong.
What you can do and here I do agree with Frank, you can work with ministries of education in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Central Asia, East Africa, wherever and help them build up their ministries of education and help them fund their teacher training and shaping their curriculums. Because the danger of Wahhabism, and I don't like to even refer to it as a danger, the danger is the export. Because in Saudi Arabia they are not training up people to be bloody attacker savages ofsavagers of the west of the United States. It is when it is exported into a community where there is no other funding for education, where there is no ministry operable, and the northwest frontier province of Pakistan is one good example, it is out of reach. And it is a question of money and it is a question of, yes, helping Musharaff take back and get some balance in the curriculum. In Saudi Arabia, they don't talk of madrassas. This is a government school system where they teach geography, mathematics, history, as well as religion.
Ms. PLETKA. I agree with Frank and with Ambassador Murphy about what we can do in the short term. We can work to try to encourage all of these Arab states to end this culture, financial, political, educational culture that supports terrorism. We can also encourage them to be more regionally responsible to actually step up to the plate when there are concerns about national security of the United States, Europe, our allies in the Middle East, about weapons of mass destruction which, frankly, they don't step up to the plate on when it comes to Iran, even when it comes to Egypt.
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And I know Frank mentioned the interest in missiles from North Korea. But those are also short-term questions. I do think that if we fail to look to the medium and the long term, and I understand what you said, sir, but I do think that if we fail to look to the medium and long term and deal with the fundamental problems of almost every one of these regimes and try to address them, perhaps we won't succeed, but we would begin to try to address these questions. We are not going to address the fundamental questions of stability in the Middle East. And all of these tactical steps will really be for not because, again, in the end we won't be fighting for the same thing. They will still have an interest in supporting terrorism and supporting extremism.
Mr. HUNTER. So what is your answer on things that should be done that are achievable?
Ms. PLETKA. As I said, first of all, I think we can think big, and I think big is achievable. In the Cold War, it took 70 years, it took 50 years, but things are achievable and sometimes you do have to have a long view. I don't want to ignore that. In the short term, I agree that if we don't address this educational, political culture that supports terrorism, that allows the financing of terrorism, that encourages the export of extremismand Saudi Arabia is still exporting extremism. Some of the things that they are funding right now in Afghanistan are of great concern, and we should keep an eye on that. But those are still tactical steps. Should we do it? Yes, we should do those things but we should keep our eye on the big picture as well.
Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Chairman, I don't want to go on too long here, but are there any leaders, is there any leadership from your perspective in the Administration which is taking initiatives that you have talked about to the Saudis?
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Mr. GAFFNEY. I have got to tell you, Mr. Hunter, that one of the great disappointments that I have experienced in the 25 years or so that I have been working in this field was watching what happened to the Office of Strategic Influence in the Pentagon. Because I think there you had an organization, particularly under General Warden's leadership, that offered the capability to distill very thoughtful approaches to these sorts of hearts and minds problems, to bring the resources of the Defense Department which are, thanks in part to you all, considerable, as well as just the acumen of people who think strategically.
This is not just about branding, which is what we are being told. Again, let's get some Madison Avenue types in and brand the United States. This is about changing the way people think about us, which goes to why they think the way they do and what we are about, the ideas.
I think that Office of Strategic Influence regrettably was destroyed by an internal bureaucratic feud within the Defense Department. It needs to be reconstituted, or something very like it needs to be empowered to do this job and do it in this kind of strategic way. That is what I would recommend most urgently.
Mr. HUNTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you. Recognize Mr. Hostettler.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And this is an excellent hearing. I appreciate your testimony, all three of you.
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Mr. Ambassador, in response to my colleague from Indiana's question with regard to the situation in this part of the world and their approach to us, when you said that we have a good relationship with the leadership, with the elites of the countries and that the people themselves like Americans and remind me of a story my dad often told me about a prize fight when there wasthe challenger and the champion were in the ring, and the challenger was beaten pretty significantly in the first round, came back to the seat and the guys in his corner were saying he hasn't laid a glove on you, you are doing great, go back and get him.
The second round come and much the same beating, he comes back and they said he hasn't laid a glove on you, you are doing fine, go back and get him. The third round was very similar. After the exultation, the third time the challenger looked at his coach and said, his manager and said, well, you keep an eye on the referee, and I will keep an eye on the other guy because somebody in that ring is beating the heck out of me.
And that is what I see in this part of the world is that there is, in fact, a huge dislike for the United States and everything we stand for, and there is the capability to bring force to bear on us on our homeland and we saw the result of that in 9/11. So I am not quite as optimistic as you with regard to the whole situation in this part of the world.
But my questions deal mainly with the situation of our military. And that is Mr. Gaffney, you referred to the fact that the police-state model in Saudi Arabia is not necessarily effective inmay not be overall effective in maintaining loyalty. I would like for each of the three of you to respond to a question that I have in that is there any similarity to current day Saudi Arabia and the situation of the reign of the Shah of Iran prior to the Iranian revolution?
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The reason I ask that is if our presence in Saudi Arabia is causing such harm to the Saudi government, then why do they continue to allow us to be there? And I see a difference in the situation with the Shah in that I don't think we had a significant military presence in Iran prior to the Iranian revolution. And given the testimony that we heard that, in fact, some of this problem was precipitated by the religious elites in the country of Saudi Arabia opposing and publicly making statements about the concern of bringing the infidels into the Holy Land and having us positioned there.
So it would seem to me if they felt that the way that they could assuage the opposition in their country is to get us out of that country, but would that, in fact, do it? And that is my question. Is there a similarity to pre-Iranian revolution Iran and today's Saudi Arabia, and does our presence, our military presence on the peninsula, could that potentially be something that would be an obstacle in a similar type of revolution on the peninsula?
Ambassador MURPHY. Actually an incentive to revolution?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. I don't know.
Ambassador MURPHY. Is that the question?
Mr. HOSTETTLER. No. I guess my question is there any comparison, is there any similarity in there?
Ambassador MURPHY. One Shah, 6,000 princes in the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. That is one difference. One Shah who moved, according to the historians, so quickly on reform that he alienated his clergy and some of the more conservative elements in the Iranian population out in the countryside. I think both are fair comments.
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Now, what happened to the Shah isthe royal families watched very carefully. Some of them have held us responsible for letting him down, et cetera. But they have, in any case, chartered a course of policy for themselves which is, do not rush the reform. I mean, the Majlis ash Shura, this consultative council was discussed between John F. Kennedy and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in 1961. It came into being in 1994.
You could say that is a fairly carefully considered step towards reform and increase in participation in the government there. But I think the differences are that at least they believe that they have kept channels open between themselves and their people. They are listening to their business community, who are complaining night and day to them about the mess that is the Saudi educational system producing perhaps, you know, sharp kids in terms of their religious training but ill-equipped to fill these jobs they need filled.
So they are moving, but they are moving very deliberately. Now, is it going to prove fast enough? Frankly only time can tell to satisfy. There is dissidence in the country and anyone would be foolish to deny it. But they feel they have the pulse of their people and they do feel the Shah got a very, very isolated from his people. I guess that is the difference.
Our military presence, well first of all it is sensible to diversify. We are in that part of the world, so fine. State of Qatar has been amenable to facilities there. I don't think that the Saudi leadership wants to be seen as kicking Americans out but in our own interest, it is just as well to diversify. I don't think it is in our interest to rush away, but diversify, yes.
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Ms. PLETKA. I think if we buy into the canard that the American presence is somehow a source of problems, we are really validating everything that all of these terrorist organizations say, the corrupting western influence, the soldiers of the infidel taking over the holy places, that is just rubbish. This is not a source of the problem. This is a reflection of an underlying existing problem given another name.
With regard to the analogy with the Shah, I don't want to overdraw it, I think that the Saudis do look at that, as do the rest of the royal families in the Gulf, and think well, there but for the grace of God go we. We better be careful. That said, I don't think that it has given them any less answers on questions of corruption which were a very serious problem for the Shah, nor on questions of somewhat dictatorial behavior. It has informed them on not moving too fast on reform.
I am not sure that that is an outcome that is to be applauded by us. But all of this really doesit reinforces the idea that if you don't talk openly about the problems with a government, with a government and its relationship with its own people, you are going to risk the possibility that change is unexpected, that you do end up going from the Shah, our friend, an embassy in Israel, to Khomeini, a terrorist. That is not what we want to see happen in Saudi Arabia.
I don't think Saudi Arabia is on the verge of stepping into the breach. But on the other hand, if we don't talk openly about where they are going and what their problems are, we risk the kind of uncontrolled change there and in other states that we don't want to see. That is why we need to have these open discussions. That is why we need to take that medium term and long view. It doesn't mean we need to be out there proselytizing for democracy now. It means we do need to push them toward openness, toward more accountability, toward diversifying their economy.
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And just one last point I would like to agree with Ambassador Murphy, although I don't see any reason why the United States should have to move out of Prince Sultan Air Base, nobody can see us in Saudi Arabia, and the bottom line for our own interests and what we may want to pursue in the coming year in terms of Iraq diversification of our military forces throughout the Gulf is not a bad idea.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Just two points. There are a lot of differences between the two. Two similarities that worry me are that one, as in the case of Iran before the Shah fell, the United States may be looking through the prism of the Saudi regime and missing a lot of awareness of the internal dynamics that gave rise ultimately to this explosive force that blew the lid off of Iran. We relied on SAVAK, I think, to an undue degree to tell us what was going on in Iran, and we missed a lot of it. And it contributed to miscalculations that I think helped ultimately us play our part rather badly.
The other part that I worry about, and I think this committee in particular should be worrying about is if something does go wrong in Saudi Arabia from our point of view, there is an enormous arsenal there of first class weapons that we have largely provided them, but in addition, the Chinese have provided them, medium range ballistic missiles that you would not want in the hands of the kind of people who inherited the Shah's arsenal back in 1979.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you.
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Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank our guests for a very excellent briefing today. In January the Washington Post quoted a senior Saudi, an official saying his government might ask the U.S. to stop using the air base on a regular basis once the war in Afghanistan was over.
The Administration did confirm that it is interested in reducing American presence there. What is your feeling or your understanding as to whether the U.S. Department of Defense is considering relocating a command center to another Gulf state other than Saudi Arabia? Do any of you have any understanding on that?
Mr. GAFFNEY. My impression, it is not from disclosures from within the building other than what has been reported in the press, is that, as Ambassador Murray said, I think there is an effort being made to diversify our assets, if you will, or facilities we will make use of in the region. Whether that will mean inexorably that we shut down facilities that we are no longer using as much of in Saudi Arabia or not I think remains to be seen.
My guess is if I were doing it and I think this is the way the Pentagon is doing it, you want to duplicate facilities and maximize the chances that at least one of them will be up and running and available to you in circumstances in which you need them. So I think they would not shut them down unless the Saudis insisted that they be shut down.
Mr. MCINTYRE. Any idea of where that duplication or replication might occur, what other Gulf states?
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Mr. GAFFNEY. Qatar is the place we keep hearing about.
Mr. MCINTYRE. I have another question on Yemen. We understand that that being the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, that U.S. Special Forces have been able to come in and have training to help stamp out cells of extremist and pro-bin Laden extremists. How effective is the Yemen military intelligence in helping us, and especially in light of the concern about U.S. ships being protected as they go into port, the Port of Aden, do you feel like we are getting the kind of assistance we need from Yemen for our ships to move safely in there?
Ms. PLETKA. We are getting a lot of cooperation from the Yemenis. There is no question that in terms of al-Qaida and what they have done since September 11, it is better than what they were doing with us on the Cole prior to that. That said, Yemen remains an entrepot for terrorists. Right now the government has an interest in squashing Arab Afghans in stopping traffic, in closing down madrassas, that may not continue to be the case. They have their own indigenous Sunni extremist terrorist problem as well.
I think the real issue of security though is not necessarily one of desire, but one of ability. And it is my belief, and I am no military expert I will hasten to tell you, it is my belief that it will be very difficult to provide the kind of security in an environment like Yemen that is necessary for us to have port visits of the kind that we had early on that resulted in such disaster with any degree of certitude that they will be safe. I think there are real risks there.
Mr. MCINTYRE. All right. I have one other question that Iunless the Ambassador wanted to respond to that. Did you have any comment, Ambassador Murphy?
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Ambassador MURPHY. I can't talk to the skills of the Yemeni intelligence service, I would just say that the cooperation around the Arab world is there, has been there providing intelligence services, information, their own service's information to ours where they share the same goal which is in this case opposing religious fanatics. And I say that about Sudan, Libya, even Syria, is my understanding.
Mr. MCINTYRE. And I wanted to ask about one other country, Jordan apparently was supposed to have helped thwart terrorist attacks that were planned by bin Laden agents prior to the 9/11 situation. Do you know if Jordan is continuing to pursue bin Laden operatives? Have they been active in helping us in this situation?
Ambassador MURPHY. My understanding is very much so. As I think I said in the opening remarks the skill they showed, it wasn't our inside information about the millennium bombings planned in December 99, it was their efforts that brought that to light. So it is a pretty good service and very much active with us on this campaign.
Mr. GAFFNEY. I would say, Mr. McIntyre, I think that of probably all of the Arab world, the Jordanians are, as I tried to indicate in my opening statement, far and away the best and most dependable.
I would just add on the Yemeni situation I couldn't agree more that we have got to keep our eyes wide open about Yemen. I think as with Sudan and others of these countries, there is a mutuality of interest in some respects and there are situations in which they do not share our interests, and then there is just the problem that they may not exercise control over some of their territory. Training up people who may not be in control or may not share our interests gives me some pause, putting valuable capital ships or other assets in harm's way also gives me pause.
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Mr. MCINTYRE. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARTLETT. Thank you very much. I would just like to take a couple of moments to get a couple of things on the record before we thank you very much for your testimony and close the hearing. Do you think that we made too little of the 50 ton arms shipment which many people feel had Yasser Arafat's fingerprints on it? And if so, was that because we wanted to appear more evenhanded in the Middle East?
Mr. GAFFNEY. Well, Mr. Bartlett, I would tell you that is one of the more egregious distortions in this new State Department document. It lowballs completely that whole episode with the Karine A. It raisesit pretends as though there is some uncertainty as to who the intended recipients of these arms were. It suggests no lackno certitude as to the role of the Palestinian Authority in acquiring these arms.
And, you know, Mr. Bartlett, you have paid a lot of attention to the missile defense issue, as you know I have over the years, I would strongly recommend to this committee since at least one of these reports was specifically commissioned by the Congress, to do as you did with the national intelligence estimate (NIE) in 1995 and demand a second opinion.
The State Department has, I believe, grossly misrepresented this and a number of other aspects of Palestinian compliance in the global war on terrorism or the terrorist threat. I think, as Don Rumsfeld handsomely did in 1998 with the Missile Threat Commission, you need to get some outside people to take a hard look at the intelligence, the evidence, and put together a report that you can have confidence in. You need a second opinion on this.
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Ambassador MURPHY. Congressman, I don't think that it was an effort to appear more evenhanded between the Palestinian Authority and Israel if that is what you meant by ''evenhanded.'' in fact, the people I heard from in State, maybe I am defensiveI spent so long there, but they were genuinely shocked at the stupidity of the Karine A shipment. How could this have been tolerated by the Palestine Authority when they were trying to get across their interest in getting back to negotiations with Israel.
The fantasy that there could be a Palestinian military victory over the Israeli defense forces is nonsense. Andbut I didn't think they spared the Palestinian feelings or, you know, tried to be nice about the Karine A. It was seen as stupid and so relayed to them. I don't know what Frank has read that was so offensive from State.
Mr. GAFFNEY. I will just give you this quote, the quote from this report says, as I understand it, ''In January 2002 Israel forces boarded the vessel Karine A in the Red Sea and uncovered nearly 50 tons of Iranian arms including Katusha missiles apparently bound for militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.'' well, the guy who was commanding the ship said he was doing it for Yasser Arafat. He worked for Yasser Arafat. The check was signed by people immediately reporting to Yasser Arafat.
I mean, this isthe State Department may be shocked at the stupidity. The reality is I am shocked at their stupidity. This is a case where the State Department is misrepresenting the facts as we know them, as the President of the United States himself has had to confront them. Because Yasser Arafat, when he wrote him a letter explaining all this, the President discerned that he was lying to him. Now that lie is not reflected correctly in this statement. In fact, it was perpetrated by the State Department in this report. I think you need to get a second opinion on this.
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Ambassador MURPHY. You are shocked at the use of the word ''apparently,'' I think.
Ms. PLETKA. I would like to commit a cardinal sin and agree with everybody. I think that the State Department and the Administration did take very seriously the Karine A. I think that they were shocked and horrified, in fact, if I can quote out of school, the senior State Department official at the time said to me that if I could have imagined to myself something more awful that the Palestinians could have done if I could have designed it, I would not have thought of the Karine A incident. So I think that they took it very seriously and I want to come back to what it meant in a moment.
The problem is that it has been treated as a discreet event. It has notso, yes, they took it seriously but then they moved on. And that is the problem. It has not informed how we deal with the Palestinians and with the Palestinian Authority. And so yes, we took it seriously, but no, it isn't part of our deliberations as we move on and encourage restraint and we encourage negotiations. That is a problem.
If I may justI do think it is very important, though, to come back to the Karine A and what it means because I think that it hasn't been clearly understood in our body politic just how important that incident was, not because it was a shipment of weapons to the Palestinians and to extremists which is bad from many perspectives, but because it represented a new nexus between the Palestinian Authority, the government of Syria, and Imad Mugniyah, who is probably, outside of Osama bin Laden, one of these most wanted terrorists in the world today, who was, we believe, behind the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, and has been behind numerous other terrorists incidents that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Americans. So that is terribly worrisome and that should be in and of itself something that we should continue to pay attention to and worry about.
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Mr. GAFFNEY. But Mr. Chairman, this is not, as Danielle said, this is not a unique incident. They got caught red-handed. But as I mentioned about the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, this smuggling of arms has been going on consistently. One of my concerns about creating a Palestinian state, especially one that has contiguous borders with an Arab state like Jordan, would be that would you have vastly larger quantities of higher caliber firepower, brought to bear on this ultimate objective.
Ambassador MURPHY. It all depends on what kind of peace agreement can be negotiated and policed and monitored. Don't say that sovereignty is destructive of peace. You just can't assume that.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Under present and foreseeable circumstances, that is all I am talking about. There may be circumstances that I can't foresee in which you have a genuinely democratic freedom-loving, peaceable Palestinian leadership wants in a state of Palestine to co exist permanently with the Jewish state. But I can't see it from here, not with any of the present candidates for leadership.
Mr. BARTLETT. If I might, thank you very much for that very good discussion. If I might I would like to return for just a moment to oil and its potential role in this Middle East situation. We held in our energy subcommittee on the science committee a full hearing having the various experts here to determine the extent of the known reserves of oil in the world and the potential of finds of oil. There was a general agreement that about 1,000 giga barrels of oil are known reserves in the world. We have about two percent of those. Wildly optimistic estimates of what you might find about only about five percent probability you will find it has a bit less than that to be found.
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You can do some fairly simple arithmetic on the back of an envelope. We use about 20 million barrels a day, that is about a fourth what the world uses, about 80 million barrels a day. You do some rather simple division and you come out there is about a 40 or so years of known reserves of oil in the world. That is at presence use rates. That is assuming that we don't use anymore, nobody uses any more, no Third World nation industrializes so that they have an increased use of oil. You might note that a six percent interest rate doubles your savings in just ten years if you compound that. So obviously oil use rate is going to go up in the world. So oil is not forever. Do you think that this fact is lost on Saudi Arabia, for instance, which has 70 percent of the crude reserves in the world? Do you think they just don't know that?
Ambassador MURPHY. Oh, no, that is a very sophisticated group of analysts in the Saudi oil business, Congressman. They know that very well. They do have reserves which, at their present rate of production, I understand could pump 8 million barrels a day for 100 years, but that doesn't answer your question directly. They know there are going to be alternative fuels and there will be conservation measures, et cetera, et cetera. They have established a very modern petro chemical industry in an effort to in that sense diversify their product, their export products. But they are very much aware that they have a key position to play for years to come and that the world demand is going to increase. I think when we look at the prospects in China, they are going to see their demand for oil as well as coal and other forms.
But they know, they haven't diversified the production for their national wealth much beyond petro chemicals. They haven't really found anything comparable to oil and petro chemicals. But they are looking, and they are looking very much for investment in that effort from the United States and other industrialized countries.
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Mr. BARTLETT. A few years ago they were the world's biggest purchaser of Photo Voltaics, the nation with the most solar panels. The world's nation with the most oil bought the most solar panels. Now, the reasons were pretty much unrelated to oil, the reasons were they have lots of sunshine and they had small communities widely separated. Big central electricity producing installations when you are moving those electrons over long distances on wires, unlike oil when you put a gallon in one end of the pipeline the gallon comes out the other, you put electrons in one end of a wire and if it runs long enough nothing comes out the other end. So they understood that for their small communities, widely dispersed that distributed production was very much better for them so for a number of years they were the world's, and may still be the world's largest purchaser of solar panels.
I saw some data recently, I wonder if you can corroborate this for me that 43 percent of the world's oil moves through the Straits of Hormuz?
Mr. GAFFNEY. I think that is roughly right.
Mr. BARTLETT. Now, if the terrorists were to sink a single super tanker in the Straits of Hormuz and if one wouldn't do it, two certainly would, that would disrupt that movement of oil for months.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Quite possibly.
Ambassador MURPHY. It is a choke point. Interestingly, I remember how worried we were in the 1980s there about the Iranian intentions with their missile batteries to create havoc at the Strait and they never did. Because the leadership, while as wild as it may have been, had no interest in cutting their own throats because they knew how important their production was to the keeping their country moving. But someone without a stake in leadership today who wants to make trouble is bound to be looking at Hormuz.
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Mr. BARTLETT. These people that are giving their lives in these pursuits are probably a little less interested in the future of their country than their leadership is.
Ms. PLETKA. That is why it is so important to make each one of these countries an inhospitable environment for terrorists. Unfortunately, I think they are not able to see not just our best interests, but their own best interest in that regard. If they did not find those places a hospitable place to operate and live, then we would see lessened risk of such a thing happening in the future.
Mr. BARTLETT. Clearly a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, but your argument is they would probably do it anyhow.
Mr. GAFFNEY. The discussion I had early this week with John McCormick and Jim Woolsey, two things that came out of that that were particularly edifying, one was, as I am sure you are aware, Jim Woolsey is enthusiastic, to say the least, about the possibilities of bio engineered means of breaking down vegetable matter of all different kinds, kudzu among other things, into ethanol which would potentially completely revolutionize what is otherwise a hopelessly inefficient subsidized undertaking and could dramatically reduce the transportation requirements in this country for imported oil and conceivably in other countries as well.
The other point which John McCormick made, and I would encourage you to talk with both of these gentlemen knowing of your interest in this because it was a very edifying conversation, but one of the things that he said, I assume it was something I can quote him as saying, was he anticipated for all of these reasons that the age of oil will end with billions of barrels still under the ground in Saudi Arabia. We are looking, in other words, at a revolution in technology and in the sources of energy from elsewhere that will farthat will be accomplished long before even the Saudi reserves are exhausted. I offer that for what it is worth from an expert.
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Mr. BARTLETT. I am familiar with the paper that described a bio engineered organism that can split cellulose into the requisite glucose molecules, cellulose, indigestible by us totally, and your friendly cow can't digest it either; she just has some little symbiotic organisms that live in her gut that slowly breaks it down and she absorbs the by-products of that.
They have bio engineered an organism that splits cellulose into glucose molecules that is made up of glucose just so tightly bound together that ordinary fermentation processes and digestive processes cannot split them. That is an exciting potential and one we ought to be exploring with more vigor.
I just wanted to leave on the record the observation that it is not unthinkable that oil could become a weapon of war.
Mr. BARTLETT [presiding]. With only roughly 40 years of oil use in the world, if we find no more and if we use no more, if you make the reasonable assumption that the more we use will probably be matched by the more we find, and there is roughly 40 years of oil left in the world, so the Arab nations know that oil is not forever and they would like to eat tomorrow also. And so I think that the economic reverses that they would sustain by cutting off our oil could be compensated by the fact that they will sell oil tomorrow also. So I don't see it impossible that oil becomes a weapon of war. And I am very concerned that nothing we do ends up in a war of the United States against the Arab world, because if that is the war, they have a weapon for which we have no counterweapon. And that is oil. And if they cut off our oil, our economy collapses.
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Mr. GAFFNEY. Mr. Chairman, I would commend to your attention I think some very thoughtful analyses of the oil weapon by a gentleman who is an old friend and colleague of mine, who now serves as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Doug Feith, dating actually back from the late 1970s, early 1980s, in which he basically discounts that danger.
But I think the point that you are making reinforces the point I was making earlier. Whether there is a short-term impact or not, it is clearly in our interests and I think it would have a very constructive impact on the thinking of the Arab world that we are talking about here today to impress upon them that we will find other ways of supplying our energy needs, and that will be to their great detriment potentially in the short term, certainly in the long term, and that I think may have a therapeutic effect on a lot of their behavior.
Ms. PLETKA. I think it is also important to refute the point that you have made that we have no counterweapon, we have no recourse. We have the United States military, and we can remove them from power. That is not a fine outcome from the point of view of any one of these people. And if you look at Saddam Husseinand they all look at Saddam Husseinhe has pushed us to the point where our President has said we are going to remove him from power.
They are not going to take the kind of risks that would push us to that point. There is no chance; their main interest is in self-preservation. It is not in oil security in four years. It is not in diversification of their economy or bringing better things to their people. It is in preserving their own regimes. And they push us or they push the Europeans too far, they risk removal from power, and not a single regime in the Middle East would ever consider such a thing. I firmly believe that.
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Mr. BARTLETT. If we were to move in militarily, where do you think the Russians would be?
Ms. PLETKA. With us.
Mr. BARTLETT. You think so?
Ms. PLETKA. They have every economic interest in seeing our oil supply
Mr. BARTLETT. I hope you are right. I think there is at least a reasonable risk that you are not right. And you know, I am not sure that the Russians would condone our control of Middle East oil.
Ambassador MURPHY. Mr. Chairman, if I could submit three brief points, self-preservation is not a sinthe desire for that. In an Arab country, in an Israeli government, in our own country, we want our own systems to continue. And we don't have the same political systems, so obviously individuals aren't going to necessarily survive in office, but their interest in survival is not anything we should be surprised at or hold against them.
Second, they know that alternative fuels possibilities are out there, which is one reason that the Saudis and OPEC generally has focused on what is acceptable as a range of prices. And they came up a couple years ago, what is it, $18 to $22. So they don't want to risk the spikes and the collapses that have been part of the history of oil in their own economies.
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And finally on successive regimes, we do have two nasty precedents that directly affect the oil world. When Colonel Qadhafi took over in Libya and when the Ayatollah took over in Iran, they both cut production something like 50 percent: We don't need it. Well, they found that they were wrong, they did need it.
But that kind of dislocation in the Arabian Peninsula would be indeed jarring and highly damaging to the world economy, not just U.S. Oil needs.
Mr. GAFFNEY. Mr. Bartlett, you asked a question that probably deserves another whole hearing on how the Russians would view all this. It is a particularly timely question, of course, as the President is embarking upon a new summit with Vladimir Putin.
I would answer you by saying I think the jury is still out, frankly, on the whole gamble that President Bush is making that Vladimir Putin is a man you can trust, in the first instance; but, more generally, that Russia as a polity has really made a change. It is now determined to participate as a constructive, reliable member of the West.
I certainly hope so. I think we are operating on the premise that they are and that they will. We are dismantling important security arrangements that have been in place, I think including North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on that premise; Combatant Command (COCOM), the technology transfer has gone long since. We are going to get rid of Jackson-Vanik and a number of other instruments like that. I hope this pays off and hope that it does encourage these trends. And one of the places where this will be most immediately put to the test is, of course, if as I hope he will, the President acts on his determination to change the regime in Iraq. Where will the Russians be on that? I hope they will be with us.
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Mr. BARTLETT. I wanted to make one other observation, consistent with your concern that we aren't certain what Russia would do. Starting in the 1970s with Brezhnev, the Russians have an undertaking on which they have now spent $6 billion. It is known as Yamantau Mountain to us. It is in the Ural Mountains. They still work on it today. They have two closed citiesMezhgoryethat house about 60,000 people, which means about 20,000 workers that do nothing but work on Yamantau Mountain. In recent years they have had a ramp-up of activity, building soccer fields and accoutrements that they don't provide for anybody else in their society. This is more important to them than $200 million for the service module on the International Space Station. It is more important to them than paying the salaries of military personnel. It is as large as inside our Beltway. It is the largest in the world far and away, with train tracks running in two different directions. So they plan to move large amounts of material; enormous rooms carved out here.
And the only, the only reasonable use of this is either during or post-nuclear war. There is no other reason for a country as financially strapped as Russia that they should continue to pour enormous resources into an undertaking like Yamantau Mountain.
Now, what does this tell us about the Russian psyche and what caution should it give us about presuming what Russian actions would be in the future? They apparently believe from this and other indications, they believe that nuclear war is inevitable and winnable, and they are preparing to win that war. I would suggestI would submit that this kind of activity by Russia shouldthat we should be aware of that when making prognostications what Russia may or may not do in any given circumstance.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I want to thank you for your patience and close the hearing. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 11:45 a.m., the panel was adjourned.]